Learning to sing and play a musical instrument can boost your child's mental prowess.

The Effect of Early Music Training on a Child's Cognitive Development

by Nadia Haris

The next time your child complains about having to practice his piano lessons, inform him that his music education will help him with his reading and math homework. Music training is mentally challenging and can lead to improved brain function in many areas, including how your child thinks, sees the world and expresses himself.

1. Increased IQ

Intelligence is typically measured by IQ and early music education might help raise your child's IQ. Research published by the American Psychological Association in 2006 showed a small increase in the IQ of 6-year-olds who had weekly piano and voice lessons. The children were give lessons for nine months and their IQ was tested before entering the first grade and again before second grade. When compared with children who had only drama lessons or no lessons, the children who took music lessons scored on average three points higher on their IQ tests.

2. Language Development

From the age of 2 years to 9 years, your child's language center rapidly develops in the brain. PBSParents reports that while children are naturally prepared to decipher sounds and put together words, music lessons helps to enhance these innate abilities. This might occur because music education helps develop the left side of the brain, which is involved in processing language. Learning music can wire your child's developing brain in specific ways that gives him better language comprehension and speaking skills.

3. Abstract Reasoning

A 1999 study published in the "Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology" showed that early music instruction can give your child better abstract reasoning abilities. Music helps to stimulate more creative centers of the brain that help your child better able to visualize imagery and link together patterns and objects. These skills are important for playing the piano and other musical instruments and also for creative writing, reading, math and the sciences.

4. Memory

Remembering speech sounds, word meanings, number patterns and other connections is important in all aspects of learning. In a 2012 article in "The New York Times," Dr. Perri Klass writes that your child can strengthen these memory skills by learning to play a musical instrument. Music lessons involve learning to recall subtle sounds notes, pitches and qualities and remembering complicated hand movements with precise timing. Practicing these skills can help build your child's recall ability in all areas.

About the Author

Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.

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